PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -
There's a Port St. Lucie neighborhood about two miles long, with 1,800 residents that's locked in by one entrance. Many of the Section 35 residents say the one way in and out poses a big safety risk; ambulance response time can be detrimentally long.
We clocked it, and from the entrance of the neighborhood west of Interstate 95 to where it dead ends at Juliet Avenue, takes more than four and a half minutes.
"I have a two year old here, and seconds count when you need medical help," said Amanda Hansen, who lives on Altamira Avenue.
The single entry and exit makes Hansen worry. She is one of many residents who wants the second roadway, called the Fairgreen Road Extension, completed.
"There's an EMS station that would decrease the response time to two minutes versus 15 minutes," said Hansen.
Along with city council members, residents like Hansen have pushed for the extension. A spokesperson for District 3, councilwoman Shannon Martin, says about 60 residents contacted Martin about the issue.
The city was hoping to get help from the state to fund the new road, but Governor Rick Scott recently vetoed it from the budget. The city has come up with an alternative.
At Monday's Port St. Lucie City Council meeting, council members voted "yes" on a plan to build the Fairgreen Road Extension, connecting Fairgreen Road to Crosstown Parkway, but it's a much cheaper version than originally planned. The new thoroughfare will likely not have curbs, gutters or sidewalks. That concerns some residents, but Hansen says she just wants to see the project completed.
"If there's no sidewalks, that's okay. As long as the ambulances can get through and help the community when we need it," she said.
Port St. Lucie city manager Greg Oravec says the road will cost about $200,000. The state's estimated cost was a little more than $1 million. Oravec says the money will come from the city's paving fund. That means the Bay Shore paving project will have to wait until the next fiscal year, which begins October 1.
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